Nexen Roadian MTX: Four Guys, One Jeep, And One Week Of Whirlwind Tire TestingPosted in Events on June 15, 2018
We test a ton of tires here at Four Wheeler, however, it is not every day that we join forces with editors from Jp Magazine and 4-Wheel & Off-Road for a tire-testing road trip extravaganza. What better way to get familiar with Nexen’s new Roadian MTX than to stuff all four of us in a new JL Wrangler and set off across the Oregon wilderness.
The Roadian MTX is the newest addition to Nexen’s fleet of off-road tires. The tire is available in diameters up to 37 inches for 15- to 22-inch wheels, comes standard with a three-ply design, and is ready for heavy hauling with a load range F rating. When we first got a look at our four-door JL Wrangler and its set of 35x12.50R17 tires, our eyeballs went straight to the sidewalls. The reversible patterns are named “Beast” and “Machine,” resembling teeth and blocky mechanical patterns, respectively.
Before we could get the Roadian MTX tires near dirt, we had some highway miles to cover. This being the Pacific Northwest, the skies were overcast and the roads were rainy—not a problem for our tires. For a mud-terrain tire, the road noise didn’t interfere with our friendly banter, and not once were we surprised with any loss of traction or hydroplaning.
The real fun came when the wet pavement turned to mud and rock. We lowered the pressure in the tires to 15 psi and watched the sidewalls bulge and wrap around the slimy rocks and roots. The tires’ load range F rating might have been overkill for a Jeep Wrangler, but we were impressed with how much they flexed when we needed that aired-down dose of traction. We put the Roadian MTX’s mud-clearing abilities to work while climbing the Firebreak 5 trail. Our sidewalls bit into the rocks, the tread blocks flung out the mud, and the Jeep kept climbing. It is important to mention that our Wrangler came with open differentials—that’s right, no lockers were used on this trip and sway bars remained connected. We can attribute our ascent of these gooey trails to the capabilities of our tires (and a skillful bit of line choice).
The rain kept falling as we made our way toward the Oregon coast and traded rocks and roots for towering sand dunes. The Roadian MTX is not a sand paddle, and after a few days of road trip food, we were slightly worried the weight of the four staffers might sink the poor Jeep in the sand. Not to worry. When aired down to 15 psi, the tires not only floated on top of the dune sand, but kept the Jeep tracking right where we wanted it when navigating the bowls and ridges. Our tread blocks didn’t pack full of grit, and our recovery gear remained unused.
Sunlight eventually shined through the blankets of rainclouds as we aimed the Jeep inland toward the heartland of Oregon. We spent an entire day with the Jeep in high range, cruising the networks of dirt and gravel roads. Through the turns, the Roadian MTX held our lines without unexpectedly breaking traction, even with some generous throttle application. At the end of the day, we checked the tread blocks for signs of wear and chunking and were impressed with our findings, considering the abuse of the past couple days. We also noted no stones were wedged between the tread blocks, a problem known to off-roaders as “stone drilling,” which can lead to punctures and flats.
Our final day in Oregon led us up to higher elevations. The sun again disappeared and the moisture returned—this time as snow. Even at highway speeds up and down the snowy passes the Roadian MTX did not give us reason to worry, or even question whether it was a snow tire. Though it does not come with a Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating, its performance through packed snow and highway slush was commendable. To further test the snow-shoveling abilities of the tires, we aired down and crawled over icy rocks, broke through fluffy powder, and pushed through heavy, wet snow—all without hesitation. Tow straps and winches still remained cold and dormant.
Final ThoughtsAfter hundreds of miles, hours of smelly socks, and a few backwoods shortcuts, we were sad to leave the Nexen Roadian MTX tires in Oregon. The tires conquered the muddy rocks and roots, tore across gravel roads, dug through the snow, and scooted over the sand, all while keeping highway noise to a polite murmur. The only terrain left from our test was dry rockcrawling, but that seems easy compared to our whirlwind of a week. The only choice we’re left with is which sidewall pattern to sport.
Holding true to the mud-terrain title, the tires cleared themselves of the Oregon cookie batter, grabbed the rocks, and with a bit of momentum, got us through the Firebreak 5 trail.
Specifications (as tested)Tire: Nexen Roadian MTX
Load range: F
Maximum load (lb): 3,195
Sidewall construction: 3-ply
Approved rim width (in): 8.5-11.0
Tread depth (in): 21/32
Section width (in): 12.50
Overall diameter (in): 34.8
Sizes available: 35 (ranging from 31 to 37 inches for wheel diameters of 16 to 22 inches in load range E or F)